Monday, October 31, 2011

My Halloween Martini


If the backlash against sexy Halloween costumes hadn’t already jumped the shark, it officially has now, what with Nicole Richie pleading on her Facebook page, “Girls, can we all pledge that we will not dress slutty for this Halloween? The jig is up.”

My instinct was to applaud her, but then my mini-third-wave-feminist kicked in and was all, “But wearing skimpy clothes on a socially sanctioned day is a step toward women not feeling shame over not being ‘sexy enough!’” And then my mini-third-wave-feminist’s cantankerous riot grrrl buddy chimed in about how relegating women’s reclamation of their sex appeal to one day defeated the pro-"Slut-o-ween" argument, and then they consulted their friend who has an adorable Etsy shop, who said that dressing slutty for Halloween was okay as long as it was done “with creative force,” and then the three of them left to discuss locavores, so I was left alone and not particularly giving a damn.

My solution to the Halloween costume conundrum is to act like a grown-up, meaning I drink dirty martinis while listening to Nina Simone, discussing Kierkegaard, and laughing throatily. That is, I don’t celebrate it in the least. I’ve had an aversion to costuming ever since I quit studying theater in college after realizing that the thought of spending my life with people who were “on” all the time made me queas. If pressed, I can whip up a costume, but in my post-college life I’d rather just skip the holiday altogether.

So in the spirit of not particularly enjoying Halloween, instead of presenting you with my own rhetoric on the wretched holiday, I’ll point you toward thoughts from those who have better things to say on it than I:

  • Bug Girl, an entomologist, openly admits a tinge of envy of women who can be comfortable dressed sexily on Halloween, but the real gem here is her parasitized tobacco hornworm costume.
  • Rachel Rabbit White’s “In Defense of Slut-o-Ween” is the most persuasive argument I’ve seen on the matter.  Runner-up is Jenna Marbles: “There’s a time and a place for it. Probably not that appropriate to wear that to school.... But if you’re out somewhere trying to get fucking hammered, and it’s Halloween? Nothing wrong with being a ho!”

To all of the above I will say that I have blasphemously dressed as the Virgin Mary and have a hard time looking devout Christians in the eye and admitting such; that I have dressed as a go-go girl and felt cold and stupid all night; that I have dressed as “slutty Viagra” and felt like a goddamned queen; and that the most fun I’ve ever had on Halloween was dressing up in my black camping underwear, complete with balaclava and fanny pack, and silently running around with a similarly clad partner and being random ninja/robber creations of our own design. We were kooky and spooky and fun, and though what we did was mundane by the standards of cleverness and obscure at best by the standards of sex appeal, I certainly felt more delightfully mischief-filled than I had on any Halloween prior or since.

Have fun tonight, whether it be from partying like a sexy aviator, gorging yourself on mellowcreme pumpkins, having hallowed communion with all souls, or waiting for November to just begin already, martini in hand.


  1. Fun post! I am sort of over the whole "I hate that women use Halloween as an excuse to dress like a slut" mentality. Let them! It's all about the fantasy and the mischief that is involved in transforming oneself from the mundane into the costumed. It's fun. Let them have fun.

    The past couple years I spent boo-hoo-ing slutty costumes and went out of my way to be not-slutty, such as the "Noodler" costume of yesteryear, complete with mustache, and giant stuffed catfish affixed to my arm. This year I gave in and joined a friend as a Palmer Girl and really enjoyed looking pretty for the night. It was fun.

    I am with you on this sentiment: "I’ve had an aversion to costuming ever since I quit studying theater in college after realizing that the thought of spending my life with people who were “on” all the time made me queasy."

    Well said!

  2. You're pretty much my hero.

  3. So amazed by this seemingly all of a sudden argument that has popped up over the internet. And, once again, it's an argument over women's sexuality.

  4. Thanks for including me in this list of post. I am excited to check out the rest.

  5. "I have blasphemously dressed as the Virgin Mary and have a hard time looking devout Christians in the eye and admitting such..."

    HA! I've always wanted to dress as Jesus, but dreaded the potential outcome.

    I know a lot of actors (boyfriend and his parents included), and have never found them to be "on." The most affected, theatrical people I've known had nothing to do with theaters, but were too insecure to be themselves publicly. College is a popular time to test drive cooler-than-thou identities--- not unlike Halloween!

  6. Cameo, I think mixing it up is the way to go--if it's only treated as one's annual opportunity to show some leg, that strikes me as actually limiting, not freeing. (And *wink* on the college theater crowd. Good people! And exhausting!)

    Sal, with a flourish, I bow.

    Courtney, it is weird that all of a sudden everyone's talking about it--I don't remember this level of discourse last year.

    Krystal, thank you for your thoughtful post!

    Rebekah, I actually snorted out loud at my screen at "potential outcome." As for the actors, good point--my experience was probably more colored by the collegiate experience than by the choice of major. (Certainly dating a math major brought its own drama.) The actors I know as an adult don't have that same drive, or if they do they've managed to successfully channel it into their work, as many of us do with our professions (say, perhaps, a bent toward the confessional?). College kids are a different story!